Class 1—chapter #1 (how much crime is there, Canadian Corrections, and theory
• How much crime occurs in Canada?
– How do we define it?
– How do we measure it?
• How much crime is violent? Justify your answer.
• What does the Canadian Correctional System look like? When sentenced for
<2years, placed in federal correctional services (RCMP, parole board, etc) when
less than 2 years, placed in provincial (youth, prov police OPP, prov parole)
• What do psychological theories of crime have to offer?
Class 2—chapter #2 (evolution and biology)
• Gain a general understanding of basic evolutionary principles—both general
and forensic specific
• Who was Khan? Why is he important in the context of evolution? He is
said to have fathered hundreds of children. Important because he is
known to have had a violent nature. Evolved psychological mechanisms
explains that characteristics that increase chances of producing
offspring will eventually become a part of the genome.
• Misconceptions/criticisms of evolution? Can you name them? Explain
• Naturalistic Fallacy: the thought that explaining things
evolutionarily legitimizes negative actions.
• Natural selection being a conscious process, it occurs are gene
• Determinism: destiny is set for everyone and you are unable to
• Can you explain how natural selection works?
• Mutation leading to reproductive successselection
• Can you define the following terms?
• Reproductive success, selection pressures, successful
• What is the theory of evolutionary forensic psychology? Recurring
ancestral selection pressures that caused conflicts in the past led to the
development of evolved psychological mechanisms that are now seen as
crime/anti-social behaviors when certain cues are present(food/mate
scarcity, threat to status etc)
• What is life history theory? Natural selection created psychological
mechanisms that weigh cost and benefits. EG: parental investment vs
mating effort, quality vs quantity of kids, self-preservation vs
• Gain a general understanding of main biological perspectives, MAOA gene
research in particular
• How do researchers execute twin and adoption studies to study the
gene-crime link? Can you explain the research designs used in twin and adoption studies? They compare MZ twins with DZ twins, or they
compare twins who have been adopted into different homes to study
• Do you know what the main conclusions are from genetic research?
• Heritability and environmental contributions? Meta-analyzed
research from over 100 studies found a medium effect size for
heritability, as well as non-shared environment, and a small
effect size for shared environment. So by comparing twins, it
would appear as though genes play a large role in development
of criminal behaviors.
• Can you explain how exactly the MAONA gene-crime link works? The
MAOA gene is an X-linked gene, meaning it is linked to the male X gene.
It is responsible for processing 3 specific brain neurotransmitters
(norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine). A ‘low activity’ version of
this gene has been detected and research suggests that when a child is
exposed to maltreatment, it increases the odds that the child will
develop violent tendencies, conduct disorder and antisocial personality
• Who are Stephen Mobley and Bradly Waldroup? Why were they
discussed in class in relation to biology and crime? Both men were
charged with violent crimes against their wives. Both used the defense
of the ‘warrior’ gene as a reason for their actions. Though Mobley was
not success, Waldroup was successful in 2009, being the first to use this
• Start to understand how multiple theories operating at different levels of
explanation can simultaneously be used to explain the same criminal conduct
• Can you compare and contrast at least two different theories? Explain
at least one strength, and one weakness associated with each theory?
• Can you compare and contrast one distal theory of crime with one
proximal theory of crime?
• Start to think critically about how research methodologies inform the ‘facts’
• Can you describe criticisms associated with each theory? Do you know
if the theory is still ‘hot’? Why? And Why not?
Class 3—chapter #3 (learning theories)
• Can you describe each theory, how they are similar and/or different from
• Psychodynamic Theories:
• Fraud: id, ego, superego. Criminals have problems with
development of Superego (harsh, weak or deviant)
• Bowlby’s Maternal Deprivation: crime is a consequence of
maternal separation at youth age (6m-3y)
• Does not consider other parental roles, methodological
issues, does not consider separated non-delinquents
• Gluecks &Gluecks: parenting was primary cause (IQ,
drug/alcohol use, abuse/neglect, supervision, lack of warmth) • Not really a theory, parenting shown to not be only factor
in crime, cross-sectional studies give correlates but not
• Hirschi’s Social Control Theory: 4 social bonds promote
conformity (attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief)
• Gottfredson & Hirschi General theory of crime: lack of self-
control plus criminal opportunities=crime, level of self-control
related to parenting